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Seniority and Distribution in a Two-Worker Trade Union

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  • Kuhn, Peter
  • Robert, Jacques

Abstract

Unlike existing models that rely heavily on assumption regarding unions' distributional preferences, the authors present a simple model in which union seniority-layoff rules and rising seniority-wage profiles result from optimal price discrimination against the firm. Surprisingly, even when cash transfers among union members are ruled out, unions' optimal seniority-wage profiles are likely to be completely unaffected by their distributional preferences because of a kink in the utility-possibility frontier. This suggests that the simple technology of price discrimination may play a key role, hitherto unappreciated, in explaining union policies that affect the relative well-being of different union members. Copyright 1989, the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Quarterly Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 104 (1989)
Issue (Month): 3 (August)
Pages: 485-505

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:qjecon:v:104:y:1989:i:3:p:485-505

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